Andrei Buckareff, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Yujin Nagasawa, Reader in Philosophy of Religion
University of Birmingham
The aim of the proposed research project is to organize the first major initiative by analytic philosophers to shed light on, explore, and evaluate alternatives to the classical concept of God which are often overlooked in contemporary philosophical debates on the nature and the existence of God. Our primary goals are to: (i) organize an international meeting to gather together both defenders and critics of alternative concepts of God; (ii) publish a collection of papers from the meeting; (iii) present research outcomes at four or more international conferences in philosophy and religious studies; and (iv) publish at least two articles on the proposed topic in leading peer-reviewed journals or anthologies in relevant fields. The proposed project will create an opportunity to investigate alternative concepts of God--for instance, variants of pantheism and panentheism--as rigorously as possible. The published results will help inject new life into debates in mainstream analytic philosophy of religion over the nature and existence of God by highlighting perspectives on the divine often overlooked in the literature. As explained below, this project should interest not only proponents of these concepts but also opponents, such as traditional theists and atheists. Beyond the implications for debates among analytic philosophers of religion, a consequence of this project should be that new avenues of discourse with scientists and theologians will be opened. Furthermore, the success of this project should have some impact on the debates between the so-called New Atheists and religious believers. Given the common motivation among many philosophers defending alternative concepts of God to develop a religiously adequate metaphysics of the divine that is consistent with broadly naturalistic commitments, the serious discussion of such approaches to thinking about God can have a spill-over effect, impacting the wider cultural debates over religious commitment.